featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


photo by Billy Coleman
Swedish-born New Yorker Julia Derek is a fitness trainer by day and writer by night. A former serial egg donor, she's the author of young adult, new adult, and romantic suspense novels. Learn more about Julia and her books at her website

How to Get Killer Abs—Without Killing Yourself…

A lot of people dream of having a body with a great stomach. Ab machine manufacturers take advantage of this by inventing new equipment, using models with sexy washboard abs to sell them in infomercials on TV, reinforcing the erroneous belief that if only you work your abdominals enough, it’ll be flat. The only time this may come true is if you have very low body fat and unusually weak ab muscles.  And if you happen to be one of the very few who fit these criteria, you’d still be better off saving your hard-earned cash and simply following the advice below.

1. WATCH YOUR DIET. It may seem obvious that you should eat healthy foods and only consume as many calories as you burn (fewer if your goal is to lose body fat). Still, this may be the number one reason your stomach is a lot flabbier than you’d like it to be. It doesn’t matter how strong and firm your abdominals are if a layer of fat covers them. In other words, all those crunches/ab exercises you’re doing WILL NOT also magically burn off the fat on your stomach. I’m not saying you should not include ab exercises into your workouts—pilates-style exercises AND crunches—but know that they’ll only strengthen your abs, not melt off the fat on top.

2. DO INTERVAL TRAINING. If you’re a glutton like yours truly, you must work out so hard you burn more calories than you consume. I don’t like to deprive myself of the good things in life, so I incorporate interval training into my workouts. Not only does interval training burn a lot more calories than steady-state cardio, but it drastically increases your fitness levels. Generally speaking, the harder you work out, the flatter your abs will be without you ever doing a crunch, especially if you include several full-body exercises. Read this article for maximum burn workouts.

3. IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE. Every day when I go to the gym, I see super lean people who work out like maniacs, yet some of them look either depressed or like they’re pregnant. (Well, if they’re females.) As I was teaching a small group TRX class, one of my participants pointed to a woman we often see working out around us and whispered, “Wow, is she pregnant again?” I looked at the woman and it took me two seconds to determine that this twelve-percent body fat person slouched so badly she in fact looked like she was about four months pregnant! Instead of standing up straight, her hips were pushed forward and her chest sunken in–partly due to over-training her pecs.  Avoid this look by always walking tall and proud. Lift your chest and chin and keep your shoulders down/back and the rest will fall into place!

Do you have great abs? What are your best tips to get a flat stomach?

Smiley Killer
Seventeen-year-old Riley has been fascinated with crime investigation since she discovered CSI on TV. So, when it’s announced a serial killer is loose in the city, hell-bent on killing girls like Riley’s little sister, Riley’s on full alert. Not even Mark, the super hot college boy pursuing her, can get her mind off the case. 

A victim found near the research lab where Riley’s friend Alyssa volunteers makes Riley think she’s found a lead: The killer’s signature—sad smileys—appears in the lab, so it seems the killer could be someone working there. Riley alerts Alyssa and the two notify the NYPD. But the police dismiss their claims. 

Convinced she’s onto something, Riley embarks on her own investigation together with Alyssa. When another victim is found near the lab, it seems they’re close to finding the killer. Problem is, their prime suspect is a scientist’s younger brother—who happens to be Mark… 


harleen kaur said...
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Angela Adams said...

Thanks for the post!